Business Etiquette – Saudi way

business etiquette riyadh saudi KSA-05

To come to Saudi Arabia and have appointment, you should have a sponsor. Saudi Arabia is not a country that you can get access to easily! You always have to get a Visa before. Usually the company would send you a visa to the Saudi embassy of your country inviting you to come to the Kingdom. Every foreigner has a sponsor whether it is a person or a company.

After having you visa on your passport, you are able to come to Saudi Arabia. You usually have a 3 months’ visa, that means that you are able to fly to Saudi Arabia within 3 months. Be careful, sometimes it could be less. And do not confused it with the duration of stay in the country!

As you arrive to the country, the sponsor will arrange an appointment to meet you with the responsible. Any other appointment should be made in advance. In order to avoid any wrong behavior in the Saudi business, please read the following tips that we would like to tell you about from our experience working here.

Some tips

  • It is important to be punctual to meetings
  • Be patient if you are kept waiting
  • Saudis wear long Thobes, this is their traditional and formal clothes. It is better to show up at meetings in a suit or at least, dress well. Women should better dress black abaya and have the scarf on the head.
  • Men shake hands, if the Saudi person consider you as a close friend, he may kiss you on each cheek.
  • Women shouldn’t shake hands with men. Women can shake hand with other women and could kiss on cheek too.
  • Exchange business cards with people you meet.
  • Please be patient, the client may change his mind and the decision can be slow down sometimes.
  • While working with a governmental party, keep in mind that bureaucracy may slow down business. You might need a lot of time to accomplish some tasks. Don’t forget that every decision has to take many approvals from many persons, especially from the highest ranking person.
  • Try to explain yourself in different ways clearly. When working with a foreigner, Saudi are expected to speak fluent English. But every day at work, you hear how easy you can face misunderstanding ideas in meeting.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you to try to create a nice relationship with people you meet.  It will influence your work and you will learn a lot from this experience! Good luck!

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Tips about the business etiquette in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Tips about the business etiquette in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


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